Family Of 14 Living Under One Roof After Mum-Of-Six's Housing Benefit Reduced To 50p Per Week

Monday 16 April, 2018 Written by  Glostershire Live
Family Of 14 Living Under One Roof After Mum-Of-Six's Housing Benefit Reduced To 50p Per Week

A family of 14 are living in one four-bedroom house after claiming the benefit cap made it impossible to pay the rent.

Patricia Newman and her six children have had to move into her mother's home - already occupied by eight other members of her family - after being evicted from their social housing in Firgrove Walk, Cheltenham.

Patricia and her children now share a home in Mersey Road with her mother Dorothy, two brothers, and four nieces and nephews.

Patricia's children are sleeping in the living room each night.

She says it has been brought about by the controversial benefit cap, which reduced her housing benefit to 50p a week.

The government benefits calculator took into account Patricia's combined benefits that she was already receiving.

The calculation then considered the amount of money coming into the household in other forms of benefits, which was considered enough for Patricia to be able to pay her rent.

But she says it is impossible to feed a family of seven, pay her bills and settle her rent on the amount she is given.

Patricia, 33, said: "I was evicted from Firgrove Walk because I couldn’t afford to pay my rent.

“When I had my youngest, they reassessed my benefits and told me that I was only going to be awarded 50p per week for housing benefit. The rest would have to come out of my tax credits and income support.

“The end of the day, I don’t have the money to pay all of that rent.

Mum with too many kids 02

Image: Mum Patricia Newman with her six children who has been evicted bu the council and now living with her mum and other children Patricia Newman with Jamie Hicks, Kian Pockett, Amelia Hicks, Charlie Newman, Poppy Greenaway, Kenny Newman, Cody Smith, Lexi-May Greenaway, Shane Hicks, Chantelle Hicks.

"Now we are living with my mother. Thing is my mother is now the guardian to four kids, and my brothers are living there as well. It is very stressful and very overcrowded."

Patricia’s mother also volunteered to pay the rent for her, and for the rent to come out of her bank account each week. However, they claim that the housing association refused this idea.

However, Dorothy is the guardian to four other children, and her two adult sons live with her too. Dorothy said: “I have guardianship of four kids and it is hard work having that many children here.

Patricia’s children are Kian, 13; Charlie, six; Cody, five; Poppy, three; Lexi, two; and Kenny, one. Each night they have been settling down to sleep in the front room of their grandmother Dorothy’s house.

 “Patricia and the children really need rehousing. I am out looking after my mother who is seriously ill with heart problems among other illnesses. All day I do the jobs that she needs doing, but I come home, and I need to do it all again. You can’t come home and relax.

“The children need their own home with their mother.”

"It was not the case. I went to a meeting at Cheltenham Borough Council and I was waiting for them to tell me what they could do to help us. I waited weeks and, in the end, my social worker told me that the council was not going to do anything.”

The children are finding it difficult to sleep and Patricia finds herself feeling increasingly down as time goes on.

Patricia said: “I have tried to get help from the MP, and councillors but no one seems to help us.”

Gloucestershire Live approached Cheltenham Borough Homes for a comment.

Paul Stephenson

Image: Paul Stephenson

Chief executive at Cheltenham Borough Homes Paul Stephenson said: "We continue to work closely with the family and their support workers to resolve this ongoing situation.”

Dorothy said: “I have guardianship of four kids and it is hard work having that many children here.

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